Talk about a Caribbean queen: retro-modern design, a gorgeous infinity pool, and spectacular beachfront location

By Tracey Minkin
January 02, 2020
Infinity pool at Serafina Beach Hotel
Tracey Minkin

Puerto Rico's San Juan is all about surrender: to its tawny, velvet beaches and cobalt waters, to the polychromatic riot along its historic cobblestone streets, the nostalgic allure of piña coladas, and a determination to remake itself in the wake of Hurricane Maria. And there's no better base camp for surrender to all the charms of this capital city than Serafina Beach Hotel, a stylish newcomer that brings charming sass and swagger to San Juan's beach-blessed Condado district.

Modern lines at Serafina Beach Hotel and house seafood restaurant aMare
Courtesy Serafina Beach Hotel

The joys of Serafina begin with architectural lines (and signage) that nod knowingly to the midcentury provenance of a previous San Juan heyday, and then jumps assuredly into modern shoreline chic in the sunny vaulted lobby, where outsize murals hand-painted by local artist Sofia Maldonado echo the thriving public art in the nearby Santurce neighborhood. In the hands of New York City–based design studio ICRAVE, the optimism of the lobby rolls in bright white and pops of turquoise into public spaces and upward into 96 contemporary guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame up water views like gargantuan Instagram posts. Finally, a slender, trapezoidal, infinity-edge pool above the beach, flanked with chaises and cabanas, takes the stylish fun outside.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in an ocean-facing guest room
Courtesy Serafina Beach Hotel

With terrific seafood restaurant aMare on premises and two buzzy bars at the ready, Serafina sings sweetly of a San Juan renaissance. Surrender away. Rates start at $289.